Friday, October 28, 2011

Vision screenings in Hispaniola

One day in June I got a call out of the blue from Adrian Hong asking me if I'd like to volunteer to photograph a trip he was taking with Lumoon Vision staff and two optometrists to give vision screenings and eye glasses to people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

In late August, just as Hurricane Irene was about to hit New York, we caught the last plane out of JFK before all flights were grounded and headed to Santo Domingo. Over the course of a week, with the help of local volunteers, hundreds of children were screened and provided with eyeglasses. Some of the kids in the IDP camps in Haiti had extremely high prescription needs, up to +8 or 9. Even a few adults who had never had an eye exam before were screened. One older man in the rural Dominican was considered legally blind. The team gave him a pair of eyeglasses, around a +8 prescription, and he could see clearly for the first time in his life. I'll always remember driving back down the road and passing him as he was showing off his new specks to friends, wearing the biggest smile I've ever seen.

Screening kids in the DR

Queuing up for screening in the Haitian refugee camp in the DR


This kid was amazing. He rode the tail all the way across the river.

Eliot and the two cutest kids in Haiti

Haitian IDP camp outside Port au Prince

I wanted to take them all back to NY

We brought a few soccer balls from the DR for the kids in Haiti

Kids stand for portraits in Haiti and the DR before they're screened

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